Travel safely but get covered

travel_safely_83010Did you know that 20 per cent of Canadians seek medical care when travelling?

Steve and Marianne Kraschuk of Winnipeg are back to their usual routines after a health emergency last winter in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico. They were enjoying their month-long getaway at their timeshare when Steve collapsed in the kitchen one evening. An ambulance arrived and transported them to the nearest hospital where Steve was treated for a head injury and brain swelling. He spent a few days in intensive care while staff monitored the swelling. Over the course of tests, a cardiac problem was identified as the cause of the collapse.

“It was frightening,” says Marianne. “Steve had been in perfect health, but fortunately, we always get travel health insurance. I remembered to bring the emergency card with me in the ambulance so we were in touch with the company while he was being examined and they made sure that Steve could be transported home as soon as he was stable.”

A recent survey of Canadians conducted by the Travel Health Insurance Association (THIA) shows that while 20 percent of travellers have had to seek medical care while away, more than half of those people had appropriate travel health coverage. Having insufficient coverage can be devastating, especially considering that 38 per cent of respondents indicated that unexpected medical expenses of between $1,000 and $5,000 would represent a financial crisis.

“Travel health insurance is designed to protect people from unforeseen expenses,” says Alex Bittner, president of the association. “Hopefully, you won’t need it. But if you do, you’ll be very pleased that you checked your credit card or employer coverage, or that you bought a travel policy.”

The Kraschuks were flown home by a medical transport plane staffed by a pilot, a physician and a nurse who ensured that Steve was stable throughout the flight. The plane was met by a Winnipeg ambulance and he was brought to the local hospital where he received a pace maker and was eventually sent to a rehabilitation facility. He was able to return home five weeks after his collapse in Mexico.

Insurance covered more than $90,000 in associated medical expenses which included Mexican hospital care, ambulances, the medical transport flight, and even the cost of having the couple’s car transported from San Diego where they had driven before flying to Mexico.

Bittner recommends the following to have carefree vacations:

• Understand your own health condition and consult a health care provider if you have any questions.

• Know the details of your trip: How long will you be gone? Are you a snowbird? Will you be travelling many times during the year?

• Understand your travel insurance policy – Insurance companies have staff available to answer any questions.

Ce message est également disponible en: French

Related News

Leave a Reply